Vaccination Obligation: Do We Have to Share our Status?

By Abigail Brown

With almost everything closing again and the new Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, it’s getting more and more dangerous to not be vaccinated. Not necessarily in the sense that you might get sick, but more in the sense that it’s too controversial to keep your vaccination status a secret.

Not being allowed into public establishments like restaurants and movie theaters without proof of vaccination is completely understandable to most. Trying to keep everyone healthy and not give hundreds of people a mandatory quarantine is obviously respectable. But if you have a friend and ask whether or not they’re vaccinated before inviting them over, should they have to give you an answer?

If you are concerned for the health and well-being of you and your family, some of which might be immunocompromised or high risk, it’s only logical to ask those who might come into contact with you to share their vaccination status. Of course, some might argue that their privacy is being violated or that their vaccination status should remain confidential. Some might even go as far as to make the accusation that they are being discriminated against. 

When people are asked for their vaccination status before seeing someone in person, you can only assume that it is for the benefit of them and their family. It is not discrimination to ask someone to help you protect yourself and make an informed decision. Even if no one that they are in immediate contact with is at risk, it is still understandable to want to avoid COVID at all costs just for the sake of not having to shut their whole life down for two weeks. In most cases, it is nothing personal to refuse to see someone because they aren’t vaccinated. It’s protection, not a vendetta. Is it really that hard to accept that people want to protect themselves first and think of your feelings second?

On the other hand, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) gives people the right to not disclose their personal medical information. People may feel that it’s violating or rude to ask for something as personal as their vaccination status. If someone is not asking from a professional standpoint, why should anyone have to give up their status? Restaurants are allowed to refuse service because they are a professional company, but friends can’t really demand that kind of thing. 

It comes down to morals in the end. If you don’t want to possibly put the life of someone who is immunocompromised or high risk on the line, you should understand that it is important to tell someone whether or not you’re fully vaccinated. If you’re okay with someone having to live in quarantine alone for two weeks because of you, keep your status confidential. If you’re okay with shouldering that responsibility, by all means, refuse to give up your information and keep yourself safe from prying ears.